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Open Access Research

A short food frequency questionnaire to assess intake of seafood and n-3 supplements: validation with biomarkers

Lisbeth Dahl1*, Camilla A Mæland23 and Tormod Bjørkkjær1

Author affiliations

1 National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), PO Box 2029 Nordnes, N-5817 Bergen, Norway

2 Montebello Center, Kurstedvegen 5, 2610 Mesnali, Norway

3 Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, 5021 Bergen, Norway

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:127  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-127

Published: 19 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Seafood intake is associated with beneficial effects for human health. Seafood provides a number of nutrients beyond the traditionally known long chain marine n-3 fatty acids EPA, DPA and DHA, such as protein, vitamin D, iodine, selenium and vitamin B12. Valid assessment of dietary seafood and n-3 supplement intakes are becoming increasingly crucial when giving recommendations to populations as seafood consumption is regarded as an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Methods

The aim was to validate a short FFQ developed for assessment of dietary intake of seafood and n-3 supplements using the biomarkers marine n-3 fatty acids in erythrocytes and 25(OH)D in serum.

Results

Fifty-three healthy Norwegians aged 30-64 years with a mean BMI of 25 kg/m2 were compliant with the study protocol. 70% reported eating seafood for dinner one to two times per week, and 45% reported to eat seafood as spread, in salads or as snack meal three to five times or more per week. The FFQ correlated significantly with both the levels of marine n-3 fatty acids (r = 0.73, p < 0.0001) and with 25(OH)D (r = 0.37, p < 0.01). Mean level of marine n-3 and of 25(OH)D were 232 ± 65 μg/g erythrocytes and 73 ± 33 nmol/L serum, respectively.

Conclusion

The present short FFQ predicted strongly the levels of marine n-3 fatty acids in erythrocytes, and predicted fairly good the level of serum 25(OH)D and may therefore be a valid method for assessment of seafood and n-3 supplements intake among adults.